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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles


  • NCA marks 13th anniversary
    National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
    May 06, 2010

    This month marks the 13th Anniversary since the historic formation of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a movement that advocates for the writing of a new people-driven, democratic constitution. Since its formation in May 1997, the NCA has grown from strength to strength, never looking back in its quest for Zimbabwe to have a people driven constitution that is produced through an open, independent and autonomous process.

    We take this opportunity to celebrate and salute the unrelenting efforts by the people of Zimbabwe shown by their refusal to surrender their destiny and future to the self-seeking politicians of this country. The people of Zimbabwe under the able leadership of the NCA have posted some emphatic victories on constitutional reform. One of the biggest victories being the 2000 referendum when the NCA led a massive campaign for the rejection of a flawed document doctored by the Executive and the Chidyausiku commission. This defective constitution disregarded the views and expressions of the people of Zimbabwe.

    The victory by the people led by the NCA was the first electoral defeat by the brutal Mugabe regime. This victory marked the beginning of a thorny road to the attainment of democracy in this country.

    As we reflect the trials and tribulations that our movement faced during the past thirteen years, we take time to remember and salute the unwavering, selflesssacrifice made by the people of Zimbabwe. These gallant sons and daughters of this land faced unlawful detentions, beatings, abductions and all forms of torture. We salute all those who died in the fight for a people driven constitution, May their souls rest in peace.

    Ten years after the politicians wanted to cheat the people of Zimbabwe into accepting a constitution, they had not written, the government seems not to have learnt a lesson from this fraudulent plan. Once again they have now ganged and are trying in vain to impose a constitution on the people of Zimbabwe. This year the constitution is being written by a group of parliamentarians under the name 'COPAC,'and the process is not people driven in every sense of imagination. With the confusion about the purported lack of resources and the delays, the process as stipulated in the Global Agreement has missed its own deadlines and is now lagging behind by 13 months.

    The past thirteen years has made us a formidable force to reckon in the political arena despite little and at times no funding from partners. In the previous year, prophets of doom had already made false prophecies that the NCA was heading for the grave, as those with resources tried in vain to force the NCA to renege from its founding principles and join the COPAC process, a move we totally rejected. Instead they proceeded to fund the COPAC stakeholders' conference. The conference ended up as a circus as delegates ended up fighting amongst themselves and thereby producing nothing at the end of the day.

    We also wish to express our great displeasure to the utterances made by the MDC President and Prime Minister of the Republic, Morgan Tsvangirai, at the May Day celebrations in Dzivarasekwa last Saturday when he dismissed the position of the NCA saying that parliamentarians were elected by people and therefore that they should lead the process. It is quite unfortunate considering that Mr Tsvangirai is the founding Chairperson of the organization called the NCA, an organization he lead in resisting the Chidyausiku-Moyo draft constitution in February 2000. As the first Chairperson of the NCA we urge Mr Tsvangirai to come back to the founding principles and values that formed the NCA and the MDC as articulated by the resolutions of the National Working Peoples Convention of February 1999.

    The NCA wishes to re-affirm its position regarding the writing of the 'Bible' of the nation.

    As the NCA we crave to clearly state that we are unshaken and we will not be remorseful, we will continue to be guided by the following principles;

    1) The process of making a constitution is as important as the content of the constitution

    2) A defective constitution-making process leads to a defective constitution

    3) The only process that is valid for the making of the constitution is a people driven process, because a constitution must be by, and for, the people.

    4) It is only through a people driven process that a constitution becomes legitimate thereby deserving respect by both present and future generations.

    5) A process which is either led or dominated by the main political parties of the government of the day or parliament is, by that fact alone, not people driven.

    A people driven process is one which;

    6) is not controlled by the government of the day or parliament of the day or the political parties of the time.

    7) is led by an independent body chaired by a non-partisan person of integrity and composed of all stakeholders including political parties, government, parliamentarians and all sections of civil society

    8) provides for full participation by all citizens, including those in the Diaspora.

    9) does not allow any person or group to change the draft constitution produced by the people whether before or after the referendum.

    10) provides for a free and fair referendum

    11) A people driven process requires a political environment where citizens enjoy freedoms and rights such as the freedom of assembly, of association, of movement and of expression (including full media freedoms).

    The NCA, through the Take Charge Campaign would be conducting a series of activities countrywide, educating and informing the people of Zimbabwe about constitutional matters and urging them to vote NO to a constitution that is a product of a few elites. We remain fully committed in ensuring that one day the people of this country will be given a chance to decide their own destiny. In the same manner we know that we will die one day, we believe that Zimbabwe will realize a democratic people driven constitution

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